Tiara Scarf (free pattern)

When we were seven years old, my friends and I spent countless hours playing “Princesses.” We’d spend most of the time describing to each other the details of our gossamer dresses and dainty slippers.

This scarf’s tiers and ruffles remind me of those days, and of the costume tiaras we would wear like the Crown Jewels, feeling regal as…well, princesses.

Tiara Scarf Pattern (PDF)


PS. As always, please let me know if you have a problem with the pattern–I promise I’ll get on it ASAP!


Bohemian Mama: A Scarf for Bonnie

My mom is an artist. I don’t mean she dabbles in watercolors or quilting…She’s never dabbled in her life! She’s also quite Bohemian…but not BoBo (Bourgeois Bohemian). We’ve never had enough money to merit THAT unfortunate title, thank God. Nope. Just honest to goodness, old-fashioned Bohemian. She’s also beautiful. See?(Bonnie and Hannah at Cafe Italia, May 2006)

When I was a little girl, she used to play the piano and the flute; she’d studied music and voice at Eastman School of Music, and played beautifully. My favorite was Moonlight Sonata. She’d sometimes play it downstairs after my sister and I went to bed…To this day, that haunting melody takes be back to the little townhouse the three of us shared in Hillsdale, Ca.

Around the same time, she was also producing a LOT of paintings. Her canvases could be found around the house in varying states of completion and dryness…I can still see, in my mind, a rather abstract painting of a tree, layers of dark and light paint spread like frosting, sitting on the kitchen counter with its top leaning against the cabinets. That particular work hung in my grandparents’ home until they passed away.

About 15 years ago (or more!) she started working with clay. It didn’t take long for pots to turn into sculptures. Winning aclaim from all who saw them, her gorgeous sculptures simply “fly off the shelves” whenever they’re exhibited. Now she’s working on a commission for the museum store at the Crocker Art Gallery in Sacramento.

Meanwhile, in her spare time (ha!) she writes poetry, which has appeared in several journals over the past couple of years. Most recently, her wonderful poem “To a Daughter” appeared in Manzanita: Poetry & Prose of the Mother Lode and Sierra (2006, Vol. 5). She said I was her muse–and I immediately knew the moment she had in mind :-) Its notoriously difficult to gain acceptance to Manzanita. But then again, my mom’s an ARTIST. Did I mention that?

So when she mentioned a friend’s Himalayan recycled silk scarf right before the holidays, I immediately decided to create something for her with the wonderfully soft skeins (from http://www.kpixie.com) in my stash. The rich, dark colors glow quietly, sparked here and there with a painterly dash of bright sari pink, yellow, or turquoise. Perfect for my mom. And an idea for a pattern (of sorts) blossomed in my mind…
After casting on three stitches–I used Brittany birch straight US#7 needles–I worked in garter stitch, increasing until I had about 18 stitches total. The body of the scarf is corrugated in random stripes of stockinette and reverse stockinette stitch. I like the rough texture in the glossy silk, and it has the added benefit of not rolling up into a tube. At the other end, I decreased back down to three stitches, and for the grand finale I added the tassels. (Not a great photo, but I like the way it shows the texture.)

The tassels worried me a bit, because they happened to sit on my chest like a stripper’s pasties–you know, those little nipple tasssels? But I’m taller, broader, and much bustier than my mother. She’s tiny, like her mother was, and NOT “chesty.” In fact, sometimes when my shoulders and upper back ache, I yearn to be built like her. Alas.

So I wrapped the scarf and shipped it out to her in January. She loved it, and wore it to the Art Museum the next day to show it off–she IS a mom, after all! Thankfully she didn’t have tassels at boob level…they were just right.

Though, knowing my mom, I’m sure there must have been at least a LITTLE tassel twirling at some point during the day. There certainly was when I tried it on! Could any decent bohemian artist-woman resist?

Knit Your Bit: Knit a scarf for a WWII vet

I usually knit for family, myself, and–in the world of compassionate knitting–for animals. But there’s a new “charity” project called Knit Your Bit that really touched me.

The project is sponsored by the National WWII Museum. They’re collecting knitted scarves to distribute to WWII vets in veterans’ centers.

It’s a beautiful thought, and I believe these guys deserve all the love we can give them.

So go ahead. Knit Your Bit.

THIS is Love…or "What I Knitted on Christmas Vacation"

Remember this? (Last week’s Eye Candy Friday photo)…
If you didn’t guess, it’s Tom Baker’s famous scarf from Doctor Who! Chris is a big fan of The Doctor, and asked me, one fine fall day, if I’d make him a copy of The Scarf. Being the adorable, wonderful husband he is, how could I refuse him? Plus, it meant I got to buy lots of yarn without the guilt (it wasn’t for ME, after all). All good.

It HAD to be authentic, or what’s the point? So we did some research and found http://www.doctorwhoscarf.com/, where you can read the history of the scarf favored by the fourth Doctor (for those familiar with the show — if you’re not, I can’t really help, since I’ve never been that much into it myself), learn about its different iterations, AND find patterns for each one (every season featured a different scarf). You can also buy Doctor Who scarves there, but Chris wanted one knitted with my own little paws. And, of course, it has plenty of Maggie and Katja knitted in for good luck.

SO, I searched again to find just the right yarn at a good price, and finally settled on KnitPicks’ Telemark. I have to say, here, that I really do love this yarn. It’s a sportweight 100 percent wool yarn with a crisp feel — not too itchy, just the right amount of wooliness. And the color range is fab.

When the package came, I dove excitedly into the project. Sixty stitches on US#6 needles. Lots of color changes. Lots of rows. All in garter stitch. ALLLLLL in garter stitch…. My God, what a long stretch of knitting that was! It actually took me about two-and-a-half months because: (A) I needed to take breaks from the tedium, and (B) I finished several other projects during the same period.

Don’t get me wrong…it wasn’t unpleasant knitting. Sometimes it was boring, but it was the PERFECT project to work on while watching DVDs in the evenings. That scarf saw many, many Poirots, Rumpoles, Jeeves & Woosters, and other fantastic BBC productions.

For us, since we chose not to give Comcast any more money than absolutely necessary, Netflix has become a continual source of pleasure: Our own line-up of British television. Exquisitely funny (at times), beautifully filmed (mostly), bitterly sarcastic (which we both love). TV as ONLY the British can make it. I despair of US television programming, with only a few exceptions.

ANYWAYZZZ….Come January, the end was in sight. I had knitted about 13 feet of garter stitch. Working harder, knitting faster — then, one night I wove in the final end. There were TONS of ends to weave in. While I finished the last few rows and final end weaving, Chris cut and organized the yarn for the fringe (honestly, has there ever been a better husband???), which I applied late that evening.

The next day, Friday, was the coldest day (so far) of the winter. Like a little boy on Christmas morning, Chris pulled out the vintage men’s Harris Tweed coat I bought in college (for $5!!!) and wrestled with the scarf for a few minutes (hey, this thing is HEAVY). He donned his hat and the fingerless gloves I made for him last year. Ready for work, he paused for a few minutes so I could snap this:
Now, is he the cutest thing ever, or what???


Pattern: Season 12 Doctor Who Scarf from http://www.doctorwhoscarf.com
Needles: US#6 Addi Turbo circular (24″)
Yarn: KnitPicks Telemark in Burlap, Grey Wolf, Aubergine, Lichen, Chestnut, Bayberry, and Pesto (approx. 4 balls of each)
Final measurements: I was simply too exhausted to bother. But here’s a visual aid (this is a double bed–the scarf is spread from the foot to the pillows and back again without any stretching at all):
Yep. This is love. And I LOVE it!